The team brought a medical negligence action for a child with Down Syndrome against the HSE (in respect of treatment at Sligo General Hospital) and Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin.
The little girl was born in Sligo with congenital heart defects and developed feeding problems. The child had problems with her feeding. The child suffered from aspiration and reflux. Thus food was “going down the wrong way”, further food that had gone down the right way and gone into the stomach and was coming back up (reflux) and going into the lungs with acid content. This caused damage to the lungs resulting in the child developing pulmonary hypertension or, alternatively, if the child was born with the condition of pulmonary hypertension, the condition as exacerbated by the feeding problems.
The child’s mother complained of the feeding problems but unfortunately her complaints were not listened to. Thus the problems were not diagnosed or treated. It was a tragedy that the food which should nourished the child was in fact silently damaging the child. The whole problem could have been simply addressed. The aspiration could have been prevented by the simple expedient by the thickening of the feed. The reflux could have been treated by the administration of an “over the counter” antacid.
Unfortunately the child was not treated, with the result that her lungs were damaged beyond repair. The child now has to have continuous oxygen and the child’s life expectancy has been reduced. The quality of the child’s life has been severely diminished.
The Defendants fought the case over a period of 5 weeks in the High Court in Dublin. Ultimately on the 23rd May 2012 the Defendants agreed to offer a sum of €690,000.00 in compensation and this was accepted and ruled upon by the Court. After the Court case concluded, the mother made the following statement:-
“…We are extremely grateful and will be forever indebted for what the Lawyers have achieved for Aisling. We are indeed indebted to Judge Irvine for the courteous, fair and diligent way she conducted the trial. We do feel that we have been abused in the manner in which Aisling was initially treated by the HSE and Crumlin and, secondly, by the way they dealt with our complaint and, thirdly, by the way they dealt with the legal case. If I did not listen to someone for whom I had responsibility, and my failure to do so caused them harm, I would have the courtesy and decency to apologise for that failure. The HSE and Crumlin failed to listen to me and, unfortunately, this has caused irreparable damage to Aisling, and still there is no apology. I do not ask for an apology now, as an asked for apology is worthless…”
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